The Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) may seem like a lifetime away if your student is not a senior, but there are many reasons to keep it on your radar for students who may pursue post-secondary education.
The FAFSA is available for students to complete after October 1 of the senior year. Some families may not qualify to receive aid, but there are several advantages to filing the FAFSA, anyway:
- You’ll have a better chance at state, federal, and school-based aid.
Some colleges require students to file the FAFSA for merit scholarships. The deadline for filing the FAFSA in Pennsylvania is May 1. However, it is strongly recommended you file well before May 1 as the state has a limited amount of aid and dispense money based on when an application was submitted – so they may run out of money.
- You will be better able to compare financial aid packages.
If you complete the FAFSA and indicate what schools you’ll be applying to, state and federal aid will be the same across schools (unless you are looking out of Pennsylvania, then state aid may not be available).
Some scholarships not related to colleges, look at your FAFSA. Make sure you qualify for all scholarships by filing the FAFSA.
- Sometimes, filing a FAFSA shows a college that you are really interested in them.
If you file the FAFSA and indicate schools, the colleges sees that and might think you are a serious candidate and more likely to enroll.
- Qualifying for lower interest loans.
Even if you don’t think your family will qualify for aid, filing the FAFSA can give you access to lower rate loans (including the Parent PLUS loan).
Read the flyer from Federal Student Aid, a branch of the U.S. Department of Education, for more information on the FAFSA process.
Click here to read more on the FAFSA Tipsheet.